With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

Latitude Festival 2018 Day 1 Friday 13th July July 17, 2018

The first day of the Latitude Festival in 2018 was also the thirty-third anniversary of Live Aid. I believe that in the main music has moved on amazingly since those heady singalong days of parallel shows in London and Philadelphia. Opening the Obelisk Arena Stage and the first day of the festival were the Go! Team. This stunning eight piece indie funk combo are now on their fifth album. The highlights for me were the bombastic “Mayday” and the sublime dance sounds of “Lady Flash”. i reckon this lot were early contenders for funkiest band of the weekend.

The Go! Team

Deap Valley blew the roof off the tent housing the BBC Music Stage. Power pop punk all the way from California. You couldn’t tell from their piledriving performance here but Julie Edwards and Lindsey Troy met seven years ago at a crochet class. Despite that they are more full on ballsy and bluesy than the White Stripes and many others that came before them. The Aussie Danish hybrid of Palace Winter kicked off the action on the Sunrise Arena Stage and were recommended to me by my friend Ann, her sister is a massive fan of this lot. They are indeed a good band, very deep, dark and at times Beatles-esque and when they fully wigged out I even heard traces of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”. The band almost didn’t get here on time. Their flight was delayed by Air Force One landing at Stansted Airport bring the Mango Mussolini to Britain.

Deap Valley

Sun Scream hit the Lake Stage with the full power of an out of control ocean-going super tanker. Some awesome indie pop from this bunch of funsters from John Peel’s home town of Bury St. Edmunds. I made my first visit to the Speakeasy for Dr Rosy Carrick’s Passionate Machine. This was essentially a winding, weblike, wonderful story about time travel which featured Rocky Balboa and David Bowie references. I think that I now truly believe in time travel; “oh no love you’re not alone!” I only caught the last song of Marlon Williams’ set sadly. But boy this dude has a voice that could split a planet in two! French band La Femme took control of the Obelisk Arena Stage with their Gallic electro pop. I reckon they were probably the coolest looking band of the day. They count Jean Michel Jarre among their growing army of fans and their second album ‘Mystere’ is released in September.

La Femme


I have seen Madrid popsters Hinds before. These girls know how to party hard and they have a collection of songs that will make you want to do the same. The audience at the BBC Stage lapped up possibly the biggest indie band ever to emerge from Spain. Due to my sometimes poor logistical skills I ended up at the Obelisk Stage when I should have been elsewhere. But that mistake gave me the opportunity to witness the love child of Rufus Wainwright, Little Richard and Nat King Cole. His name is Benjamin Clementine and he is utterly bloody amazing. He had the late afternoon audience eating out of his hands, especially during the sing along moments. He has been around for a while and won the Mercury Music Prize back in 2015 for his album ‘At Least For Now’. He has also more recently been a collaborator on the new Gorillaz LP.


The next band to grace the BBC Music Stage during my travels across the beautiful landscape of the Latitude Festival site was …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. These Texas rockers were playing their 2002 record ‘Source Tags And Codes’ in full. Their dark, melodic rock remains a very attractive proposition. Surely the band’s name is a top contender for one of the greatest band names ever. One of York’s finest bands, The Howl And The Hum made their first ever Latitude appearance on the Lake Stage. I have seen this band a few times now and they get a little better every time that I see them. They are shaping up to be a truly great British band with influences from Pink Floyd, XTC and Pulp to name just a few. Their new single “Don’t Shoot The Storm” is potentially their best song in their career to date. It sure as hell brought the house down at Latitude. Lower Slaughter a Glasgow and Brighton four piece came along and pulverized the Lake Stage audience into submission with some mountainous punk power and perpetual, relentless energy.

The Howl and the Hum

The Music and Film Arena was home to the marvellous Lump a project of Mike Lindsey and British folk superstar Laura Marling. It was charming, eerie and whimsical rock with a soft prog vibe. A stunning achievement. Rather cheekily though, given Laura’s background in folk, I so wanted to shout “Judas!” I sensibly chose not to though. These days the Charlatans are essentially a heritage band. They did however put on an enthusiastic and danceable show from the part that I saw. My highlight was “North Country Boy” although their new material left me a bit cold. I had a wonderfully different and somewhat new experience watching Tune-Yards on the BBC Music Stage. I have heard great drum ‘n’ bass and I have witnessed talented and intelligent use of looping. This combination produced a lively and heavenly dance set.

I had been looking forward to seeing Solange from the moment the Latitude 2018 headliners were announced and she was not a disappointment. From the preshow playing of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Secret Life Of Plants’ album over the PA I had a feeling it was going to be special. The stage was sparse and white, featuring a huge globe and two pyramid like constructions. The lighting was only ever one colour at a time and no spot lights were used. The choreography and coördination of movement for everyone on stage was perfect and harked back to the golden days of watching 60s Motown groups go through their meticulously syncopated dance routines. Solange herself is an incredibly talented performer; her vocals are pitch perfect and soulful. All the hits were there, the show was book-ended by “Rise” and other highlights were “Crush” and “Losing You”, but I doubt that anything like the hook line from “F.U.B.U.”, “All my niggas in the whole wide world” has ever rang out across Henham Park before! This showcased modern R & B at its finest. For me Solange is every bit as good as her sister!

Public Service Announcement: All pictures are from my phone, apart from the pink sheep shot which I found on line. All videos are sourced from YouTube. If you own the copyright to any of these please let me know and I will be happy to either give you a named credit or take the picture or video down.



“But what the heck, they’re not too bad, they talk to God” January 24, 2018

I am truly saddened by the death of Mark E Smith of the Fall. He was one of the alternative music scenes greatest talents. He passed away at home and according to his manager more details will follow in the next few days. He was hospitalised with significant respiratory issues on the Fall’s US tour last year and back in the UK he completed some dates in a wheelchair. At this stage there is no way of knowing whether any of this was connected with his demise. Mark formed the Fall after seeing the now infamous Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1976, they became a fixture in British music following the release of their debut EP ‘The Bingo-Masters Break Out’ in 1978. The band released 32 studio albums from ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ in 1979 to last year’s ‘New Facts Emerge’. They issued a similar number of live albums and more than 40 compilations. Smith was the only constant member of the Fall, around 60 different people played in the band over the years. He was an influence on many, many artists including Brett Anderson of Suede, Tim Burgess of the Charlatans and Billy Bragg. John Peel was a great champion and fan of the Fall, he once said “They are always different, they are always the same”, that strikes me as a very fitting epitaph. RIP Mark E Smith, you will be sadly missed. My thoughts go to Mark’s family, friends and fans.


“An eagle lands and a planet full of people raises it’s hands” Blog Advent Calendar Day 9 December 9, 2014


Here we are at December 9th and edging closer to the visit of the big, bearded, red-coated house burglar on 25th December. That also means that it is day 9 of this years advent blog posts. The theme if you are not a regular reader is the ABC of British bands and day 9 means that we are at the letter ‘I’. What delightful British band do I have for you today? Well it’s none other than the marvellous Inspiral Carpets.


The band was formed in Oldham in the early 80s by Graham Lambert and Stephen Holt. Strangely I went to school with a Stephen Holt and I worked with a Graham Lambert; sadly different people from the founders of the Inspiral Carpets though. The band’s biggest success came between 1989 and 1995 when they had 14 UK top 50 singles. The biggest of those was 1992’s “Dragging Me Down” which reached number 12. They were dropped by their label, Mute, in 1995 and they broke up a little while after that. They reformed in 2003 and are still together now.


You may know that the band once had a certain Noel Gallagher working for them as guitar tech/ roadie. Obviously before his Oasis days. The Inspirals drummer Craig Gill formed another band after the break up. That band were named after a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, Proud Mary. That band were eventually signed to Noel Gallagher’s Big Brother record label. Another Inspiral Carpets roadie, Mike Collins, went on to bigger things too. He joined the Charlatans in 1991. Collins also went to school with Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs off of Oasis.

My favourite Inspiral Carpets song ever is “Saturn V”, what is yours?



“She could kill you with a wink of her eye” February 23, 2009

Well here we are again on a Monday morning, what the hell happened to the damned weekend? Why is it only two days? Three or four would be better wouldn’t it?

Anyway in yet another forlorn attempt to keep this post short, I think I know I’ll fail in that aim, let’s kick off with some birthdays. Firstly 23rd February 2009 is the 65th birthday of talented guitarist Johnny Winter. He was one of the numerous acts to play the Woodstock Festival in 1969, playing a nine song set which included his brother Edgar on two songs. Here is a clip of him from that very set at Woodstock. The rather splendid US band the Smashing Pumpkins recorded an instrumental homage to Johnny called “Tribute to Johnny”, in which they tried to emulate Winter’s unique guitar sound. The song was originally intended for their excellent 1995 album ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’ but was rejected and eventually turned as b-side on theirZero” single. Ill health means that Johnny is only able to play whilst seated. Both he and his brother Edgar are albino, to find out a little more about this go check out Wikipedia here.

As this picture proves Johnny had a very laid back playing style

As this picture proves Johnny had a very laid back playing style

Today is also the day to wish Steve Priest, the Sweet’s guitarist a happy 59th birthday. He was born in Hayes, Middlesex in the UK just a few miles away from where I was born and grew up. I now live 200 miles away in York while Steve lives a little further away in California. Who do you think got the better deal weatherwise? An early incarnation of the Sweet was called the Sweetshop, whilst they released a few singles they all failed to hit the chart. The classic line up of the band (Steve Priest, Brian Connolly, Mick Tucker and Andy Scott) came together in 1970. “Funny Funny” written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman became the bands first hit in 1971. Despite the fact that the band were all competent musicians and thanks to Messrs Chinn and Chapman they were not allowed to play on any of their RCA singles until “Wig Wam Bam”. They were seen by many as just another bubblegum pop band, although many of their B Sides and live gigs belied this and showed their love of and skill at playing harder rock. Steve Priest and Andy Scott are now the only surviving members of that classic line up and both still tour with their own versions of the band. Imaginatively called Steve Priest’s Sweet and Andy Scott’s Sweet! Here are the boys with “Ballroom Blitz” from 1973, Steve is the guy who does the rather camp speaking part in the song!

The Sweet like brickies in drag! Mr Priest is the one on the bottom left

The Sweet like brickies in drag! Mr Priest is the one on the bottom left

The last birthday today is Rob Collins keyboard player with the Charlatans. He would have been 46 today but sadly he was killed in a car crash on 23rd July 1996 in Rockfield, Wales during the recording sessions for the band’s 5th album. The Charlatans first gig was at Vic’s Club in Northwich, Cheshire in the UK. Following that gig their manager was able to secure them five support slots with the then new cult heroes the Stone Roses played between November 1988 and April 1989. It was Rob Collins distinctive Hammond Organ sound that underpinned many of the bands songs. Apparently he bought the organ from a local church. Here are the boys with the rather splendid “Weirdo” which Catwoman swears is about me!

Rob Collins RIP

Rob Collins RIP

On this day in 1974 Suzi Quatro was number one in the UK charts with “Devil Gate Drive” her second number one. From quite a young age Suzi (born Susan Kay Quatro) had aspired to a career in music. She left school in 1964 and immediately formed a band called the ‘Pleasure Seekers’ with her three sisters Arlene, Patti and Nancy. As with the Sweet earlier in this post and Mud from a previous post, many of her early hits were written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Fans of the US sitcom ‘Happy Days’ may also remember Suzi’s appearances on that show as Leather Tuscadero in 1977

Suzi had failed to notice the small ladder in her tights as shen went on stage

Suzi had failed to notice the small ladder in her tights as she went on stage

It was on this day in 1979 that Dire Straits played their first ever US show when they appeared at the Paradise Club in Boston. The single of the title track from 1985’s “Brothers In Arms” album was the first commercially available CD single. 400 copies were pressed for release in November 1985. The album went to number one in both the UK and the US. Here is my favourite Dire Straits song which was also their first UK hit, “Sultans Of Swing

Though they were excellent guitarists those Dire Straits boys never really mastered the Hank Marvin/ Shadows dance steps

Though they were excellent guitarists those Dire Straits boys never really mastered the Hank Marvin/ Shadows dance steps

And finally on this day in 2003 the UK tabloid ‘The News Of The World’ reported that Michael Jackson had undergone scores of painful operations to strip his body of black skin until he appeared white. They also reported that surgeons at a Santa Monica clinic eventually refused him any further treatment. An ‘insider’ told the paper that Jacson had been anesthetized on a weekly basis to have his skin peeled and bleached. Is this a true story? Maybe, but bear in mind the track record of the UK tabloid press in making up stories before making up your mind. Here is Michael with “Black Or White

looking at the man in the mirror Michael finally realised that he may have overdone the plastic surgery

looking at the man in the mirror Michael finally realised that he may have overdone the plastic surgery

Well that’s another day nearly over folks, enjoy the rest of it and I’ll be back tomorrow


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